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Disregarded Entity FBAR Obligations | FBAR Tax Lawyer & Attorney Houston

As an FBAR tax lawyer & attorney, I can see that one of the most common tax compliance mistakes made by US taxpayers is ignoring their disregarded entity FBAR obligations. These taxpayers believe that, since disregarded entities are ignored for tax purposes, these entities do not need to file any FBARs. In this article, I will explain why this view is completely false and how US taxpayers should comply with their disregarded entity FBAR obligations.

Disregarded Entity FBAR Obligations: What Are Disregarded Business Entities?

Under US tax law, certain juridical persons are disregarded for tax purposes. In other words, an entity is not recognized for tax purposes as something separate from its owner; the owner and the entity are merged into one tax person for tax purposes.

A disregarded entity may have only one owner. If there is more than one owner, then the entity is treated as a partnership for US tax purposes (unless it elects to be treated as a corporation).

A disregarded entity does not file its own tax return. Rather its owner reports all of the entity’s income and expense items on the owner’s tax return.

It is important, however, that one does not confuse the tax and legal treatment of a disregarded entity. Despite being ignored for tax purposes, a disregarded entity continues to exist legally. In other words, for all legal purposes, it is a separate juridical person with its own legal rights and obligations.

The most typical example of a disregarded entity is a single-member limited liability company (“SMLLC”). Another prominent example is a grantor trust.

Disregarded Entity FBAR Obligations: Required FBAR Compliance

A US disregarded entity must file an FBAR if it has a financial interest in or signatory authority or any other authority over foreign bank and financial accounts the highest aggregate value of which exceeds $10,000 at any point during the relevant calendar year.

FBAR is not filed with a US tax return. Hence, disregarded entities must file FBARs even though they do not file US tax returns. Taxpayers need to make sure to obtain an EIN number for their disregarded entities.

It is important to emphasize that all FBARs of disregarded entities are filed under the names of these entities, not their owners or managers. In other words, if a grantor trust files an FBAR, the trustee will sign FBAR which is officially filed in the name of the grantor trust.

Also note that I stated that a “US disregarded entity” must file an FBAR. A foreign disregarded entity does not need to file an FBAR (though, its US owner will have to do it under the FBAR rules).

Disregarded Entity FBAR Obligations: FBAR is not a Tax Requirement

Why is it that a disregarded entity has to file FBARs if it is disregarded for tax purposes? The answer to this question requires us to look into the legislative origin of FBAR.

The key to understanding why a disregarded entity has to file FBARs is the fact that FBAR is not part of the Internal Revenue Code (“IRC”). In other words, FBAR is not a tax form. FBAR is a creation of the Bank Secrecy Act and belongs to Title 31 (IRC is Title 26) of the United States Code.

As I stated above, a disregarded entity is ignored only for tax purposes, but it continues to exist for legal purposes. Hence, for FBAR purposes, the entity is not disregarded but continues to exist as a separate juridical person with its own legal compliance duties, including FBAR obligations.

Disregarded Entity FBAR Obligations: Why IRS Enforces FBAR Compliance

There is one more issue we need to clarify: if FBAR is not part of the IRC, why is the IRS agency in charge of enforcing it? The answer to this question also lies in FBAR’s history (now, the readers can appreciate why I insist that an international tax attorney should know the legal history of different legal and tax requirements).

Prior to the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the IRS was not in charge of enforcing FBAR compliance. Instead, for many years prior to 2001, FinCEN (the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network) was in charge of FBAR.

Why? The answer is simple: the original purpose of FBAR was not to fight tax noncompliance; it was not created as a tax form. Rather, FBAR was a tool to fight financial crimes, such as money laundering and terrorist financing. This fell straight within the competence of FinCEN.

In 2001, however, the US Congress turned over the function of enforcing FBAR compliance to the IRS (technically, FinCEN delegated the enforcement of FBAR to the IRS). The IRS almost immediately shifted the focus of FBAR from financial crimes to international tax enforcement.

Disregarded Entity FBAR Obligations: Frequent FBAR Violations

FBAR compliance is miserably low among disregarded entities. The main reason for so many FBAR violations is the fact that most taxpayers are completely unaware of the legal analysis of FBAR which I have set forth above. As I stated above, they incorrectly believe that FBAR is a tax form and, since disregarded entities are ignored for tax purposes, these entities do not or did not file FBARs. Unfortunately, even these non-willful situations may lead to the imposition of substantial FBAR penalties.

Contact Sherayzen Law Office for Professional Help with Your Disregarded Entity FBAR Obligations

In order to avoid these FBAR penalties and ensure proper tax compliance, you should contact Sherayzen Law Office for professional help with your disregarded entity FBAR obligations. Sherayzen Law Office has filed FBARs for every type of a disregarded entity. If your entity has not filed FBARs in the past, but it was required to do so, Sherayzen Law Office can also help you determine the best offshore voluntary disclosure option for your entity and do all of the work necessary to bring you and your entities into full compliance with US tax laws. We can help You!

Contact Us Today to Schedule Your Confidential Consultation!

2018 FBAR Deadline in 2019 | FinCEN Form 114 International Tax Lawyer & Attorney

The 2018 FBAR deadline is one of the most important deadlines for US taxpayers in the calendar year 2019. Since FBAR is not filed with the federal income tax return, many taxpayers may miss this deadline. This is why Sherayzen Law Office is publishing this notice to US taxpayers.

2018 FBAR Deadline: Background Information

FBAR is an acronym for FinCEN Form 114, the Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts. US Persons must file FBAR if they have a financial interest in or signatory or any other authority over foreign financial accounts if the highest aggregate value of these accounts is in excess of $10,000. FBARs are filed separately from federal tax returns.

2018 FBAR Deadline: Pre-2016 FBAR Deadline

For the years preceding 2016, the US government chose a very strange deadline for FBARs – June 30 of each year. For example, 2012 FBAR was due on June 30, 2013. No filing extensions were allowed.

There was another surprising rule for FBAR deadlines. Prior to the mandatory e-filing of FBARs, taxpayers had to mail their FBARs to the specialized center in Detroit, Michigan. Unlike the rest of the tax forms, FBARs did not follow the “mailbox rule”. In other words, the filing of an FBAR was recognized by the IRS not upon the mailing of this form, but upon its receipt. For example, if FBAR was mailed on June 30, but received on July 1, it was not timely filed.

Federal tax returns, on the other hand, do follow the mailbox rule. This means that the IRS will consider the mailing date, not the date of receipt, as the date of the filing of a tax return. I should point out that, in practice, the IRS often confuses the rule and incorrectly issues failure-to-file penalties based on the date of receipt. This is why it is important to have a proof of mailing for your federal tax return.

The last FBAR that followed the June 30 deadline was 2015 FBAR; its due date was June 30, 2016. Nevertheless, due to the six-year FBAR statute of limitations, it is important to remember this history for the purpose of offshore voluntary disclosures and IRS FBAR audits. It will continue to be relevant as late as June 30, 2022.

2018 FBAR Deadline: Changes to FBAR Deadline Starting 2016 FBAR

Of course, the strange FBAR filing rules greatly confused US taxpayers. First of all, it was difficult to learn about the existence of the form. Second, taxpayers found it very difficult to timely comply with its requirements due to its very strange filing rules.

The US Congress took action in 2015 to alleviate this problem. As it usually happens, it did so when it passed a law that, on its surface, had nothing to do with FBARs. The Surface Transportation and Veterans Health Care Choice Improvement Act of 2015 (the “Act”) changed the FBAR deadline starting with 2016 FBAR. Section 2006(b)(11) of the Act requires the FBARs to be filed by the due date of that year’s tax return (i.e. usually April 15), not June 30.

Furthermore, during the transition period (which continues to this date), the IRS granted to US taxpayers an automatic extension of the FBAR filing deadline to October 15. Taxpayers do not need to make any specific requests in order for an extension to be granted.

Thus, starting with the 2016 FBAR, the Act adjusted the FBAR due date to coincide with the federal income tax filing deadlines. This is the case even if federal law requires a different filing date. For example, in situations where the tax return due date falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday, the IRS must delay the due date until the next business day; the FBAR deadline will follow suit and also shift to the next business day.

2018 FBAR Deadline

Based on the current law, the 2018 FBAR deadline will be April 15, 2019. In other words, your 2018 FBAR has to be e-filed by and including that date. Automatic extension to October 15, 2019, is available.

FBAR Noncompliance & Taxpayer’s Options | FBAR Lawyer & Attorney

FBAR noncompliance is the worst nightmare for US taxpayers due to enormous FBAR penalties even for non-willful taxpayers. US Taxpayers who are not facing an IRS examination or a DOJ (US Department of Justice) lawsuit have three options with respect to their FBAR noncompliance: (1) do nothing with respect to correcting their prior FBAR noncompliance, close the accounts and hope that the IRS will never discover them; (2) do a quiet disclosure; and (3) come forward and voluntarily disclose their unfiled FBARs.

I already explored the highly-risky strategy of a quiet disclosure in another article. In this article, I will focus on option #1 – doing nothing about prior FBAR noncompliance. In the next article, I will discuss the option of Offshore Voluntary Disclosure as a way to deal with prior FBAR noncompliance.

This article does not constitute legal advice, but merely provides information for educational purposes.

Advantages of Doing Nothing With Respect to Prior FBAR Noncompliance

Doing nothing with respect to FBAR noncompliance is a position that some taxpayers prefer, because it requires no action, no immediate legal expenses and no immediate payment of IRS penalties.

In other words, if a taxpayer chooses to do nothing with respect to his late unfiled FBARs and his strategy is successful, he stands to gain in two aspects: (1) he spends no effort, time or money on correcting his past FBAR noncompliance; and (2) if (and this is big “if”) the IRS never finds out about his past FBAR noncompliance, he will not pay any penalties. This whole strategy is based on the hope that the IRS will not find out about their FBAR noncompliance.

Disadvantages of Doing Nothing With Respect to Prior FBAR Noncompliance Even If the Strategy Is Successful

From legal perspective, this strategy of doing nothing can be classified as very risky. If unsuccessful, a noncompliant taxpayer who chooses to do nothing stands to lose a lot more than he could ever gain if his strategy works.

Let’s analyze the disadvantages of doing nothing based on two scenarios: the strategy is successful and the strategy is unsuccessful.

Even if the strategy is ultimately successful and the IRS does not find out about FBAR noncompliance, there is still a heavy psychological price to pay for this success, because the taxpayer will not find out about the success of his strategy until the FBAR statute of limitations expires. In other words, for six long years, the taxpayer will not have any peace of mind and will constantly worry about his potential FBAR penalty exposure. If the taxpayer does not close his foreign accounts, the waiting period could be extended even further.

Moreover, if FBAR noncompliance is combined with income noncompliance and failure to file other US international information returns, the statute of limitations on the tax returns might be open for an indefinite period of time (especially if the IRS can assert a fraud claim against the noncompliant taxpayer).

I have personally seen the psychological effects of such pressure on some of my clients. It was simply destroying their lives. Eventually, they could not live like this and came to me to do offshore voluntary disclosure to resolve their prior FBAR noncompliance.

Disadvantages of Doing Nothing With Respect to Prior FBAR Noncompliance Where the Strategy Fails

If the success of this strategy exhorts such a heavy price, its failure may potentially result in disastrous consequences. Let’s explore the main two reasons why the strategy of doing nothing is so disfavored among international tax lawyers.

First, as described above, the current international tax enforcement structure severely undermines the entire basis for the strategy – i.e. hope that the IRS will not find out about FBAR noncompliance is simply too risky in the contemporary world dominated by FATCA, CRS and a widely-spread web of bilateral and multilateral automatic information exchange treaties. It is still possible that the IRS will not find out about a US person’s foreign accounts, but it is becoming less and less likely.

Second, since the strategy of doing nothing implies a taxpayer’s conscious choice not to comply with the FBAR requirements, it may turn a relatively simple and non-willful situation into a complex and willful one. In other words, under these circumstances, if the IRS is able to find out about prior FBAR noncompliance, the IRS may pursue willful and, in extreme circumstances, even criminal FBAR penalties.

Contact Sherayzen Law Office for Professional Help With Resolving FBAR Noncompliance Issues

If you never filed your required FBARs and other US tax forms, contact Sherayzen Law Office for professional help. Our legal team is headed by one of the most experienced international tax lawyers in this area – Mr. Eugene Sherayzen. He has helped hundreds of US taxpayers around the world to successfully resolve their prior FBAR noncompliance, and He can help You!

Contact Us Today to Schedule Your Confidential Consultation!

2017 FBAR Currency Conversion Rates | FBAR Lawyer and Attorney

Using proper currency conversion rates is a very important part of preparing 2017 FBAR and 2017 Form 8938. The instructions to both forms require (in case of FATCA Form 8938, this is the default choice) US taxpayers to use the 2017 FBAR Currency Conversion Rates published by the Treasury Department. The 2017 FBAR Currency Conversion Rates may also be used for other purposes, not just the preparation of the 2017 FBAR and Form 8938.

The 2017 FBAR Currency Conversion Rates are the December 31, 2017 rates officially published by the U.S. Department of Treasury (they are called “Treasury’s Financial Management Service rates” or the “FMS rates”) and they are the proper conversion rates that must be used while preparing FBAR and Form 8938.

Due to this importance of the 2017 FBAR Currency Conversion Rates to US taxpayers, international tax lawyers and international tax accountants, Sherayzen Law Office provides the table below the official 2017 FBAR Currency Conversion Rates (keep in mind, you still need to refer to the official website for any updates).

 

Country – Currency

Foreign Currency to $1.00

AFGHANISTAN – AFGHANI

69.3200

ALBANIA – LEK

110.6000

ALGERIA – DINAR

114.6590

ANGOLA – KWANZA

170.0000

ANTIGUA – BARBUDA – E. CARIBBEAN DOLLAR

2.7000

ARGENTINA – PESO

19.1600

ARMENIA – DRAM

485.0000

AUSTRALIA – DOLLAR

1.2790

AUSTRIA – EURO

0.8330

AZERBAIJAN – NEW MANAT

1.7100

BAHAMAS – DOLLAR

1.0000

BAHRAIN – DINAR

0.3770

BANGLADESH – TAKA

82.0000

BARBADOS – DOLLAR

2.0200

BELARUS – NEW RUBLE

1.9730

BELGIUM – EURO

0.8330

BELIZE – DOLLAR

2.0000

BENIN – CFA FRANC

562.3300

BERMUDA – DOLLAR

1.0000

BOLIVIA – BOLIVIANO

6.8600

BOSNIA – HERCEGOVINA – MARKA

1.6300

BOTSWANA – PULA

9.8040

BRAZIL – REAL

3.3120

BRUNEI – DOLLAR

1.3420

BULGARIA – LEV

1.6310

BURKINA FASO – CFA FRANC

562.3300

BURMA – KYAT

1354.0000

BURUNDI – FRANC

1720.0000

CAMBODIA (KHMER) – RIEL

4103.0000

CAMEROON – CFA FRANC

567.7900

CANADA – DOLLAR

1.2550

CAPE VERDE – ESCUDO

92.0260

CAYMAN ISLANDS – DOLLAR

0.8200

CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC – CFA FRANC

567.7900

CHAD – CFA FRANC

567.7900

CHILE – PESO

614.2300

CHINA – RENMINBI

6.5040

COLOMBIA – PESO

2981.7900

COMOROS – FRANC

411.0000

CONGO – CFA FRANC

567.7900

CONGO, DEM. REP – CONGOLESE FRANC

1580.0000

COSTA RICA – COLON

564.0000

COTE D’IVOIRE – CFA FRANC

562.3300

CROATIA – KUNA

6.2300

CUBA – PESO

1.0000

CYPRUS – EURO

0.8330

CZECH REPUBLIC – KORUNA

20.8840

DENMARK – KRONE

6.2070

DJIBOUTI – FRANC

177.0000

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC – PESO

48.1100

ECAUDOR – DOLARES

1.0000

EGYPT – POUND

17.7300

EL SALVADOR – DOLARES

1.0000

EQUATORIAL GUINEA – CFA FRANC

567.7900

ERITREA – NAKFA

15.0000

ESTONIA – EURO

0.8330

ETHIOPIA – BIRR

27.2000

EURO ZONE – EURO

0.8330

FIJI – DOLLAR

2.0170

FINLAND – EURO

0.8330

FRANCE – EURO

0.8330

GABON – CFA FRANC

567.7900

GAMBIA – DALASI

47.0000

GEORGIA – LARI

2.6100

GERMANY FRG – EURO

0.8330

GHANA – CEDI

4.5200

GREECE – EURO

0.8330

GRENADA – EAST CARIBBEAN DOLLAR

2.7000

GUATEMALA – QUENTZAL

7.3300

GUINEA – FRANC

9004.0000

GUINEA BISSAU – CFA FRANC

562.3300

GUYANA – DOLLAR

215.0000

HAITI – GOURDE

62.9500

HONDURAS – LEMPIRA

23.5000

HONG KONG – DOLLAR

7.8150

HUNGARY – FORINT

258.4500

ICELAND – KRONA

104.0900

INDIA – RUPEE

63.7500

INDONESIA – RUPIAH

13490.0000

IRAN – RIAL

36057.0000

IRAQ – DINAR

1166.0000

IRELAND – EURO

0.8330

ISRAEL – SHEKEL

3.4710

ITALY – EURO

0.8330

JAMAICA – DOLLAR

128.0000

JAPAN – YEN

112.5500

JERUSALEM – SHEKEL

3.4710

JORDAN – DINAR

0.7080

KAZAKHSTAN – TENGE

331.3100

KENYA – SHILLING

103.2000

KOREA – WON

1065.9301

KUWAIT – DINAR

0.3010

KYRGYZSTAN – SOM

69.0000

LAOS – KIP

8274.0000

LATVIA – EURO

0.8330

LEBANON – POUND

1500.0000

LESOTHO – SOUTH AFRICAN RAND

12.3160

LIBERIA – U.S. DOLLAR

125.1700

LIBYA – DINAR

1.3570

LITHUANIA – LITAS

0.8330

LUXEMBOURG – EURO

0.8330

MACAO – MOP

8.0000

MACEDONIA FYROM – DENAR

51.0700

MADAGASCAR – ARIA

3235.6201

MALAWI – KWACHA

731.0000

MALAYSIA – RINGGIT

4.0440

MALI – CFA FRANC

562.3300

MALTA – EURO

0.8330

MARSHALL ISLANDS – DOLLAR

1.0000

MARTINIQUE – EURO

0.8330

MAURITANIA – OUGUIYA

355.0000

MAURITIUS – RUPEE

33.4000

MEXICO – NEW PESO

19.7040

MICRONESIA – DOLLAR

1.0000

MOLDOVA – LEU

17.0580

MONGOLIA – TUGRIK

2427.3999

MONTENEGRO – EURO

0.8330

MOROCCO – DIRHAM

9.3520

MOZAMBIQUE – METICAL

58.8500

NAMIBIA – DOLLAR

12.3160

NEPAL – RUPEE

102.4000

NETHERLANDS – EURO

0.8330

NETHERLANDS ANTILLES – GUILDER

1.7800

NEW ZEALAND – DOLLAR

1.4050

NICARAGUA – CORDOBA

30.6000

NIGER – CFA FRANC

562.3300

NIGERIA – NAIRA

359.0000

NORWAY – KRONE

8.1960

OMAN – RIAL

0.3850

PAKISTAN – RUPEE

110.4000

PALAU – DOLLAR

1.0000

PANAMA – BALBOA

1.0000

PAPUA NEW GUINEA – KINA

3.1350

PARAGUAY – GUARANI

5574.0000

PERU – NUEVO SOL

3.2360

PHILIPPINES – PESO

49.8490

POLAND – ZLOTY

3.4830

PORTUGAL – EURO

0.8330

QATAR – RIYAL

3.6400

ROMANIA – LEU

3.8800

RUSSIA – RUBLE

57.8450

RWANDA – FRANC

855.0000

SAO TOME & PRINCIPE – DOBRAS

20597.2227

SAUDI ARABIA – RIYAL

3.7500

SENEGAL – CFA FRANC

562.3300

SERBIA – DINAR

101.3300

SEYCHELLES – RUPEE

13.3800

SIERRA LEONE – LEONE

7645.0000

SINGAPORE – DOLLAR

1.3360

SLOVAK REPUBLIC – EURO

0.8330

SLOVENIA – EURO

0.8330

SOLOMON ISLANDS – DOLLAR

7.4910

SOMALI – SHILLING

575.0000

SOUTH AFRICA – RAND

12.3160

SOUTH SUDANESE – POUND

126.0000

SPAIN – EURO

0.8330

SRI LANKA – RUPEE

153.4000

ST LUCIA – EC DOLLAR

2.7000

SUDAN – SUDANESE POUND

9.0000

SURINAME – GUILDER

7.5200

SWAZILAND – LILANGENI

12.3160

SWEDEN – KRONA

8.1930

SWITZERLAND – FRANC

0.9750

SYRIA – POUND

515.0000

TAIWAN – DOLLAR

29.6460

TAJIKISTAN – SOMONI

8.7500

TANZANIA – SHILLING

2235.0000

THAILAND – BAHT

32.6000

TIMOR – LESTE – DILI

1.0000

TOGO – CFA FRANC

562.3300

TONGA – PA’ANGA

2.1140

TRINIDAD & TOBAGO – DOLLAR

6.6300

TUNISIA – DINAR

2.4580

TURKEY – LIRA

3.7880

TURKMENISTAN – MANAT

3.4910

UGANDA – SHILLING

3635.0000

UKRAINE – HRYVNIA

28.1450

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – DIRHAM

3.6730

UNITED KINGDOM – POUND STERLING

0.7400

URUGUAY – PESO

28.7600

UZBEKISTAN – SOM

8030.0000

VANUATU – VATU

105.0000

VENEZUELA – BOLIVAR

3345.0000

VIETNAM – DONG

22708.0000

WESTERN SAMOA – TALA

2.4400

YEMEN – RIAL

250.5000

ZAMBIA – NEW KWACHA

9.9750

ZAMBIA – KWACHA

5455.0000

ZIMBABWE – DOLLAR

1.0000

2017 FBAR Deadline | FinCEN Form 114 FBAR Lawyer & Attorney

FinCEN recently confirmed the 2017 FBAR deadline and the automatic extension option.

2017 FBAR Deadline: FBAR Background

FinCEN Form 114, the Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts, is commonly known as FBAR.  US taxpayers should use this form to report their financial interest in or signatory authority over foreign financial accounts. Failure to timely file the FBAR may result in the imposition of draconian FBAR penalties.

2017 FBAR Deadline: Traditional FBAR Deadline

Prior to 2016 FBAR, the taxpayers had to file their FBARs for each relevant calendar year by June 30 of the following year. No filings extensions were allowed. The last FBAR that followed this deadline was 2015 FBAR (its due date was June 30, 2016).

2017 FBAR Deadline: Changes to FBAR Deadline Starting 2016 FBAR

The Surface Transportation and Veterans Health Care Choice Improvement Act of 2015 (the “Act”) changed the FBAR deadline starting with 2016 FBAR.  Section 2006(b)(11) of the Act requires the FBARs to be filed by the due date of that year’s tax return (i.e. usually April 15), not June 30.

Furthermore, during the transition period, the IRS granted to US taxpayers an automatic extension of the FBAR filing deadline to October 15. The taxpayers do not need to make any specific requests in order for extension to be granted.

In other words, starting 2016 FBAR, the Act adjusted the FBAR due date to coincide with the federal income tax filing deadlines. Moreover, the new FBAR filing deadline will follow to the letter the federal income tax due date guidance. The federal income tax due date guidance states that, in situations where the tax return due date falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday, the IRS must delay the due date until the next business day.

2017 FBAR Deadline

Based on the new law, the 2017 FBAR deadline will be April 17, 2018 (same as 2017 income tax return due date). If a taxpayer does not file his 2017 FBAR by April 17, 2018, then the IRS will automatically grant an extension until October 15, 2018. Failure to file 2017 FBAR by October 15, 2018, may result in the imposition of FBAR civil and criminal penalties.